An exceptionally silly film that breathes some new life into a rather (un)dead horror sub-genre — zombies. As We Know It takes a couple interesting pokes at horror comedy, zombies, and the process of getting to know people that you might really hate.
The film jumps right into the horror comedy with two stellar scenes from the great Chris Parnell (Slice) and the even greater Pam Grier (Ghosts of Mars). While both Parnell and Grier do get their day in warm Los Angeles sun, they’re unfortunately underused throughout the film.
Established with a wonderful late 1990s premise about snooty Los Aneglinos and their growing penchant for soy milk, As We Know It focuses on the city’s tiered social structure and willingness to chase the latest fad.
Replete with several hysterical nods to 1990s culture, including: voice machines, yellow pages, and Waterworld laser discs. In some ways it appears as if the director was blessed with a cool house and the aforementioned laser disc, but not much else to connect the characters to this specific period of time. Missing are Clinton/Lewinsky jokes, jabs at the World Wide Web, and a satirical look at the wild valuation of Beanie Babies. Far too many jokes were left on the table.
As We Know It does a great job of focusing in on the mundane aspects of a zombie outbreak and the nonchalant approach that we’ve all come to understand is part of self-isolation. The characters, unbothered by the zombie plague, begin to pick away at the foundations of their friendships, what brought them together, and the true value of Kevin Costner’s greatest work, Waterworld.
Both James (Mike Castle, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Bruce (Oliver Cooper, Project X) play a wonderfully comedic pair. Stunted emotional growth, living in the past, and perennially obsessed with Waterworld. Unlike the great Duane Jones in Night of the Living Dead, these two opt for a much more passive approach to the zombies. You just have to find the last business in the LA area delivering hot wings and wait out the zombies.
While their less than proactive plans eventually do come together, they’re not with out peril. Both the externally-facing zombies, and the internally-facing emotions come clashing together. The oafish Bruce is forced to contend with the wing delivery guy, as the ennui-filled James comes face-to-face with his former girlfriend who swings by to check on him.
By humanizing the humans and paying less attention to hyper-aggressive zombies, As We Know It is able to get at the most basic of horror questions. What would you REALLY do in a zombie outbreak? The question is eventually answered, but not before a silly ending that rivals the equally silly premise.
As We Know It has some great laughs, but unfortunately focuses too extensively on James and Bruce. While they both have some comedic chops, the film could have greatly benefited from 15 more minutes of both Chris Parnell and Pam Grier.
As We Know It is Rated R and releases in theaters beginning today!